In the words of Apple, in today’s day and age, “There’s an app for that.” For McDonald’s, however, the mobile app idea isn’t panning out quite as planned. In fact, McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook just admitted that adoption of the app is still “pretty low” despite over seven million initial downloads. What might be leaving McDonald’s app users with a bad taste?
Restaurant brands including McDonald’s have registered that in order to be successful, it helps to take on a mobile-first mentality. Last year, restaurant brands matched the retail and hospitality categories in terms of mobile app adoption and innovation, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants. McDonald’s in particular ranks in the Gifted category of the Index, indicating its digital prowess.
The McDonald’s app would seem to be a strong offering. It currently has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on the App Store, and appears clean, colorful, and laden with deals and promotions.
However, the reviews present a less satisfying picture. Some reviewers say they placed mobile orders or payments that never made it to the restaurant; others state that both orders and promotions are often not fully ready or realized until you’re near or within the specific McDonald’s location you’re ordering from. Many point out that the app doesn’t work when connected to WiFi in several McDonald’s locations.
This disappointing feedback, along with the app’s low frequency of use, points to an important lesson. Restaurant apps shouldn’t just exist to look good; they should actually make transactions more seamless. By making it easier to order a Big Mac, the brand could encourage customers to keep coming back.